Microsoft (MSFT) on Thursday announced a new update to its Bing search engine that will bring deeper Facebook (FB) integration to the service. The company’s new “Friends’ Photos” feature allows users to quickly search through and locate photos belonging to their Facebook friends. “On Bing, your Facebook privacy settings are always respected,” said Ian Lin, a senior program manager for Bing. “Your Facebook friends will only be able to see the photos you have made viewable, and you will only see photos your friends have made viewable, and your photos will never be shared with the public.” This isn’t Microsoft’s first attempt at socializing its search product. The company invested in Facebook and it currently provides results on Bing based on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social networks. More →
It’s the end of an era. Microsoft announced last month that this year’s Consumer Electronics Show keynote will be the company’s last for the foreseeable future. The show definitely won’t be the same without Microsoft’s chief executive officer Steve Ballmer kicking things off with his unique brand of charisma, but all good things must come to an end. According to reports, Microsoft won’t have anything big to announce at this year’s keynote. Instead, Ballmer will recap the strong year Microsoft had in 2011 and discuss the company’s core consumer-facing products moving into 2012 including Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox and more. Mr. Ballmer always puts on a show, however, and we’re sure he’ll toss in a few surprises to keep things interesting. The keynote kicks off at 9:30 p.m. Eastern / 6:30 p.m. Pacific, so hit the break to follow all the action — and Ballmeresque yelling — as it unfolds. More →
Microsoft announced and launched a new deals website on Friday tied to its growing Bing suite of services. Bing Deals is a shopping site that compiles specials from GroupOn, Target, LivingSocial, Nordstrom and others. “Instead of building another program, we’re harnessing deals from major providers and retailers,” said Bing senior director Lisa Gurry. Microsoft’s Bing Deals offers more than 200,000 specials across the United States and, as a deal aggregator, it should eliminate the need to sign up for email alerts from multiple coupon-based services. Just like competing options, Microsoft will offer daily specials that will be accessible from its desktop website located at http://bing.com/deals and from mobile devices.
Microsoft has lost $5.5 billion, an average drain of $1 billion per quarter, on Bing since it introduced the search engine in 2009, CNNMoney reported on Wednesday. Despite the losses, Microsoft’s Bing reached a 30% share of the U.S. search engine market in April of this year, slowly narrowing the gap with Google, although comScore’s figures pin the search engine’s share at just 14.7%. Despite the constant drain, Microsoft still has a plan for Bing. During the company’s financial analyst meeting in California recently, Microsoft’s president of online services Qi Lu said his company hopes to use Bing to “reorganize the web” to “change the game fundamentally” instead of taking on Google in a head-to-head dogfight. Read on for more. More →
Microsoft’s Bing team took the wraps off of a new location-sharing application for Windows Phone on Thursday called “We’re in.” The application is similar to foursquare and Latitude in some respects, and yet still very different. The idea is simple: you can create an invitation that will allow your friends to share their location for a specified amount of time. Say, for example, you want to share your location and see where four of your friends are, for one hour, while you all head towards a local restaurant. You can create a quick event with “We’re in” and then send it to those friends. Once they accept, their pictures and locations will appear on Bing Maps. If you hit traffic or the train is late, you and your friends can update your status as you make your way to the restaurant. Unlike Latitude, which some people avoid for fear of location privacy issues, you can always leave the party. Better yet, when the allotted time is up, your location is automatically turned off. The application is available in the Zune Marketplace now and Microsoft says it plans on delivering it to other platforms soon, too. More →
Microsoft has struck a deal to provide English search results in Baidu, China’s most popular search engine. According to The Wall Street Journal, Microsoft anticipates that the Bing-labeled English search results will help expand its Bing brand in China. Baidu also hopes that the partnership will help its efforts to expand its search engine to the global market. Chinese users typically use Google for English search results, however, the Chinese government has blocked that search engine — and other Google services, such as the newly launched Google+ — from time to time. Baidu will begin implementing Bing results later this year, although neither company provided an exact date as to when that functionality would be added.
Several new features set to be introduced in Microsoft’s upcoming “Mango” update for Windows Phone were revealed this past weekend. We already knew that Mango is set to be a major update to the Windows Phone platform — perhaps the most anticipated new feature is improved multitasking support — but Microsoft had been keeping several upcoming additions under wraps. Newly revealed features include Bing Audio, which will identify songs by listening to music, a la Shazam; Bing Vision, which will provide barcode scanning along with a host of camera-assisted search functions; the addition of turn-by-turn navigation to Bing Maps; speech recognition support in the messaging app; and a new native podcast player. None of these new features have been confirmed by Microsoft at this point but considering the proven track record of the source, it looks like Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.5 update is going to be even more exciting than we thought. More →
During the BlackBerry World Keynote in Orlando this morning, Research In Motion announced that it is working with foursquare to include support for the social-network in an upcoming version of BlackBerry Messenger. Users will be able to share their location information as their BBM status, but RIM execs didn’t go into much detail on how check-ins will work or just how feature rich the implementation will be. The native foursquare client, for example, allows users to find nearby deals, compete with friends for check-in points, and more. RIM did not say when the client would make its debut, although we suspect it will be around the launch of its BlackBerry 7 powered Bold 9900, which will occur later this summer. More →
Just moments ago on stage at BlackBerry World 2011, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis (no, the other one is also CMO, dummy) announced a strategic mobile partnership with Microsoft (translation: we’re super scared of Andy Rubin). Starting around the holiday timeframe, Microsoft’s Bing maps and search will be the preferred search and mapping solutions for BlackBerry products. We’re talking about a system-level integration, “far beyond a search box,” RIM said. Check out our live coverage of RIM’s BlackBerry World 2011 keynote for more!
According to data collected by Experian Hitwise, Bing’s share of the U.S. search market surpassed 30% last month. Microsoft’s Bing search engine is less than two years old, but a series of key deals and increasingly effective mobile integration pushed the service’s share of the U.S. search market up nearly 6% between February and March to 30.01%. Yahoo!’s share of the U.S. market grew as well, from 14.99% in February to 15.69% in March, while Google’s share declined 3% to 64.42% for the month. Google still owns the lion’s share of the U.S. search market of course, but the Internet giant’s search engine is less effective than Bing and Yahoo! according to Experian Hitwise. The firm notes that over 80% of searches performed with Bing and Yahoo! result in a visit to a website while only 65.91% of Google searches result in a visit. Hit the break for the full press release. More →
Microsoft has filed a complaint with the European Commission in regards to Google’s search operations in the European Union. “Our filing today focuses on a pattern of actions that Google has taken to entrench its dominance in markets for online search and search advertising to the detriment of the European consumers,” said Microsoft’s general counsel, Brad Smith. “Google has engaged in a broadening pattern of walling off access to content and data that competitors need to provide search results to consumers and to attract advertisers.” Smith added that Google has a 95% grip on the search market in Europe and that the company has aimed to stop any other firms from creating a competitive search alternative. Smith also argued that Google, since acquiring YouTube in 2006, has restricted other search engines from properly accessing YouTube videos for search results. More →
Analytics company ComScore has released its October search engine market share numbers and… instead of making you fire up your search-site of choice and finding the information yourself, we thought we would just put it right there for you. October’s search numbers are as follows: Google 66.3%, up from 66.1% in September; Bing 11.5%, up from 11.2% in September; Yahoo 16.5%, down from 16.7% the month prior; Ask.com 3.6% down 0.1% from the previous month; and AOL 2.1%, down from 2.3%. We are curious to see how/if the recent release of Windows Phone will help Bing’s search numbers. We’ll find out next month.
According to research firm Nielsen, Microsoft’s Bing search engine has overtaken Yahoo! as the second most-used search engine in the United States. There is, however, a little catch. Nielsen’s numbers, which are for August of 2010, only count what they are calling “intentional searchs” and do not include contextual or slideshows searches. The company pegs Yahoo!’s U.S. search share at 13.1% and Bing’s at 13.9%; Google is still dominating with a cool 65%. To further cloud the waters, comScore’s data — from July of 2010 — shows that Yahoo!’s explicit search numbers are six points higher than Bing’s. For the time being, all we know for sure is that Google has almost two-thirds of the U.S. search market and either Bing or Yahoo! is in a distant second. More →